Another spill shows huge risks with deep sea oil drilling

Sunday 20 November 2011, 11:58AM
By Green Party

Petrobras who is planning to drill off the east coast of New Zealand has been involved in another deep sea oil spill. This is happening at the same time as John Key has been secretly meeting with oil executives to discuss drilling here.

“This latest spill shows once again just how dangerous deep sea oil drilling, how many disasters do we need before the Government listens to reason and shelves its plan to set up deep sea oil rigs here, said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

Petrobras, a Brazilian oil company, are part owners of an oil field northeast of Rio de Janeiro where a leak has developed. The company has a history of accidents with 27 oil rig blowouts since 1980 and 282 deaths from accidents, explosions and fires in the last 15 years. They have been given permits to look for oil off New Zealand’s east coast.

“The Government is putting our coastlines and our clean green future at risk by allowing deep sea oil to be set up here, said Mrs Turei.

Last week John Key had a secret meeting with Anadarko Chief Executive James Hackett presumably to discuss how to set up deep sea oil rigs in New Zealand.

Anadarko had a 25 percent stake in the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded and sunk, spilling over 600,000 tonnes of oil into the sea. This has had a massive negative impact effect on the marine and coastal environment.

“John Key should be talking to the people of New Zealand about their concerns not making deals with oil companies,” said Mrs Turei.

“If there is a leak from a deep sea oil rig there is no easy way to stop it. The consequence for New Zealand’s environment, economy and reputation would be catastrophic.

“A deep sea oil spill would be even worse in New Zealand because we are so far away from any support. We have seen the damage done by the Rena oil spill – a deep sea oil disaster would be hundreds of times worse.

“The Green Party is committed to looking after our beautiful coastline and ocean and has developed a plan to prevent oil spills, and to be prepared for coastal accidents when they do happen, said Mrs Turei.

The Green Party launched a five-part plan to protect our shores from oil spills on Thursday. It includes:

Introduce a moratorium on deep sea oil drilling and exploration;

Set up an independent inquiry into the speed of the Government response to the Rena grounding, maritime regulations, and the capacity of our maritime services to respond to accidents;

Implement higher standards for coastal shipping that support the use of local crews and ships that know New Zealand waters and hazards;

Build Maritime New Zealand's oil spill response capability and infrastructure; and
Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, that the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up.

For more information

Green Party Oil Protection Plan